VN news ticker: Philippe Gilbert sees 2021 Tour de France as his last

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Philippe Gilbert sees 2021 Tour de France as his last

Philippe Gilbert may be rolling down the Champs-Élysées for the last time Sunday.

Gilbert, 39, sees this year’s Tour de France as his last before retiring at the end of 2022.

“Finishing a Tour means a lot at any age. But I don’t see myself returning to the Tour as a rider. So tomorrow I will ride to Paris for the last time.” Gilbert told France Télévisions on Saturday.

Gilbert has been a part of a Lotto-Soudal team without a figurehead after star sprinter Caleb Ewan crashed out on stage 3. The team has had little to shout about other than appearances in the break and neopro Harry Sweeny clocking into third on stage 12.

Gilbert has managed two top-20s but otherwise been out of sight.

After failing to finish the last four of his 11 Tours, Gilbert said this year’s race has been one of surval.

“In my previous four Tours, I had to give up every time. Either I was sick or I fell,” he said. “This time I really wanted to finish. I suffered a lot, and I rode an anonymous race. But at any age, it is an achievement to finish the Tour.”

Gilbert’s one Tour de France victory came in 2011. He will hang up his wheels after one final season with Lotto-Soudal next winter.